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The Kia Corporation is known for producing value-priced car models in wide-ranging builds ad styles. The company boasts a vehicle line-up comprising SUVs, crossovers, MUVs, hybrids, EVs, and sedans. Kia has also announced the upcoming EV9. However, in this article, we’ll focus on the Kia Rio sedan, which, despite its affordable price, attractive handling, and comfort, ranked the lowest among all Kia cars based on owners’ reviews collected by TrueCar.

So, why is the Kia Rio the lowest-rated Kia model, and what aspects of the vehicle made it score so lowly among Kia’s model line-up? We’ll get into that shortly, but first, let’s look at the features of the Kia Rio. 

Design, features, and specs of the Kia Rio

A silver-gray 2023 Kia Rio subcompact sedan model parked in a big city near a river walkway
2023 Kia Rio | Kia America

The Kia Rio sedan is available in two trim levels: LX and S. There’s also a hatchback available, although the carmaker only offers it in the S trim. The LX has standard features, such as power windows, central lock doors, an adjustable driver’s seat, and an 8-inch infotainment display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The S trim adds folding rear seats, a front center armrest, 15-inch wheels, automatic climate control, a Sirius satellite radio, and a modem. 

Under the Rio’s hood lies a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that cranks out a modest 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque, 12 hp less than the base Nissan Versa and 34 ponies more than the Mitsubishi Mirage. Together with its continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Rio goes from 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds, according to Car and Driver. The five-seater sedan also has comparatively better fuel economy, with an EPA rating of 32 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. On the flip side, the Mitsubishi Mirage gets 36/43 mpg city/highway, while the Nissan Versa has an EPA rating of 32/40 mpg city/highway. 

While the Kia doesn’t sport premium interior features, it looks stylish and feels comfortable, thanks to its user-friendly climate controls, front bucket seats, ample leg, hip, and shoulder room, and excellent cargo capacity. Additionally, all Rio trims feature electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, and hill-start assist. Exclusive to the S trim is Kia’s Drive Wise driver-assist technology with forward-collision avoidance, high-beam assist, rear occupant alert, etc. 

The Rio ranks lowest among all Kia models, according to TrueCar

The Kia Rio is in its fourth generation, whose first reimagined model entered the market in 2018. Despite all its bells and jingles, the Rio ranked the lowest in the entire Kia model collection, earning a rating of 4.4 out of 5, according to TrueCar. This overall rating is calculated by averaging 262 ratings from verified Rio owners. 

The automotive pricing, information, and review platform rated the vehicle across five primary categories: performance, comfort, fuel efficiency, safety technology, and features. For fuel efficiency, the Rio earned a 4.4 rating, followed by performance (4.3), comfort (4.1), features (4.0), and safety technology (3.9). However, while the Rio might be the lowest-rated Kia model, it ranks among the best-value subcompact vehicle models.

How the Kia Rio scored its 4.4/5 overall rating 

As with the Kia Telluride, owners identified the downsides to owning the Rio. According to TrueCar, most 2022 Kia Rio owners highlighted safety technology, features, cargo space, and safety technology features as their least favorite aspects of the model. On the other end of the spectrum, fuel economy and comfort are the most liked aspects of the car. So, what did the owners have to say about the vehicle?

One 2022 Kia Rio IVT owner praised the car for meeting their driving needs but thought Kia could’ve done a better job with cargo space and driver-assist technology. Another Rio owner expressed disappointment in not getting a remote start feature, especially during the cold winter months. 

In another review of the Rio S IVT, another vehicle owner discovered that the vehicle’s temperature display dings but stops when it crosses the line. Additionally, they also expressed concern about the limited trunk storage space. The Kia Rio might not be the fanciest vehicle, but it delivers excellent value for budget buyers. It’s fuel efficient and features a decent collection of comfort features. However, Kia had to give up on several perks to provide an affordable car, perhaps the reason it ranks lowest among all Kia models. 

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